We hear a lot about mindfulness these days. But you do not typically hear much about how to use team mindfulness to improve your teamwork.
However, that is starting to change.
In this article, we will describe
- what team mindfulness is,
- how mindfulness is benefiting people in the workplace and
- how Right-Minded Teamwork’s Team Agreement and Right Choice Model will help you use team mindfulness to improve your teamwork.
What is Team Mindfulness
Mindfulness is the individual practice of observing your thoughts and then consciously choosing how to behave.
Furthermore, your mindfulness is split into two parts:
- right-mindedness and
Right-mindedness is your willingness to choose accountable attitudes and to demonstrate responsible behaviors.
Wrong-mindedness is a mindless decision to feel and behave like a victim or, even worse, to become angry and act like a victimizer.
Team Mindfulness is when all teammates practice mindfulness. It is the practice of observing yours and your teammate’s attitudes and then consciously choosing to behave in a right-minded way.
Moreover, your collective right choice to embrace mindful attitudes and behaviors will lead to you creating team Work Agreements.
By following your Work Agreements, you will improve your teamwork and achieve customer satisfaction.
Other Mindfulness Descriptions and Resources
A review of any of the following articles or videos will easily convince you of the value of mindfulness.
Benefits of Mindfulness in the Workplace
Mindfulness is becoming more accepted in the workplace for many reasons. However, there is now evidence mindfulness improves bottom-line business results.
Let us take a closer look at Aetna’s results after implementing mindfulness into their business.
After that, I’ll show you how you can use team Work Agreements and the Right-Minded Choice process to achieve mindful and productive teamwork.
Aetna’s Team Mindfulness Program
Aetna’s CEO, Mr. Bertolini, began reshaping Aetna’s culture by offering free yoga and meditation classes to his 50,000 employees.
Since its inception, six thousand employees have participated.
Employees report they are more effective on the job, gaining an average of 62 minutes per week of productivity. Aetna estimates that it is worth $3,000 per employee per year. If you were to multiple that by 6,000 employees, that is $18,000,000 per year.
Employees who participate in either yoga or mindfulness training report:
- 28% reduction in their stress levels
- 20% improvement in their sleep quality
- 19% reduction in their pain
Demand for these mindful training programs continues to rise, with each class being overbooked.
Listen to this marvelous story directly from Mr. Bertonlini himself by watching this 4-minute video from Forbes.
Team Mindfulness That Improves Teamwork
At Aetna, employees volunteer for the mindfulness training. It is their individual decision to attend.
It is not a team building event.
The Aetna training has paid off for employees and customers, resulting in a truly inspirational change management program.
Right-Minded Teamwork’s Mindfulness approach, on the other hand, is different in several ways but achieves similar results.
Right-Minded Choice does not teach yoga or meditation.
Instead, it teaches teammates how to choose accountable or mindful, work behavior especially when difficult team situations occur.
Let us go a little deeper.
Right-Mindfulness Begins with Right Choice
Every team experiences challenging situations.
How teammates choose to respond to those demanding situations can make circumstances better or worse. I am sure you will agree.
Only Two Choices
Well, the Right Choice model teaches that we only have two choices as to how to respond to difficult team situations. Keep in mind there are hundreds of variations of those two choices.
Nevertheless, there are still only two.
Teammates either act in a right-minded way by choosing accountable attitudes and responsible behaviors. Or, they act in a wrong-minded way by choosing to feel like a victim or behavior like a victimizer.
The right-minded way is the desired “mindful” teammate response. The wrong-minded response is how teammates behave when they are literally OUT OF THEIR RIGHT MIND.
Let us go even deeper, and I’ll show you how to use Right Choice to improve your team’s teamwork.
How to Apply Right Choice
The Aetna program is a training class.
The Right-Minded Teamwork approach is a customized and facilitated team building workshop attended by all teammates.
Team Building Workshop
At the beginning of the workshop, the facilitator presents the Right-Choice Model. Find instructions here.
During the presentation, teammates naturally ask questions and offer comments.
Teammates always agree their team will be better off when all teammates think and behave in a right-minded accountable way when difficult team situations happen.
At this point, the facilitator brings forward a recent difficult team situation.
When teammates look honestly at that situation, they realize they could have responded more responsibly or mindfully.
The facilitator asks,
“What did we do to create, promote, or allow that situation to happen? What should we do differently going forward?”
This question brings teammates back into their right minds, where the root cause of their work behavior can be found.
As the teammates talk, the facilitator captures their ideas as to how they desire to think and act differently going forward.
Those ideas are put into team Work Agreements.
At the end of the workshop, they might have created several Work Agreements that, essentially, map out how this team will act and behave mindfully.
Thus, they have agreed on what Team Mindfulness means to them.
To Sum Up – Use Right-Minded Teamwork to Create your Team Mindfulness
Mindfulness can mean different but similar things.
At Aetna, meditation and yoga training were offered to individuals as a way to apply mindfulness.
If you are ready to use team mindfulness to improve your teamwork, Right-Minded Teamwork’s approach will work for you.
First, start by teaching teammates how to make right-minded “‘mindful” choices that lead to accountable work behaviors.
Then, create and follow team Work Agreements.
Both Aetna’s and our approach benefit the employee and organization. Both methods help to create successful teams.
For decades, the Right Choice model program, just like the Aetna program, has produced results, too.
Are You Ready to Use Team Mindfulness to Improve Your Teamwork?
Here are actions you can take right now.
- Implement the Right-Minded Choice Process in your team, starting by choosing your team’s right attitudes and behaviors.
- Learn how to facilitate and create team Work Agreements.
- Use the 7 Lessons to Build Right-Minded Teamwork Thinking — Mindfulness Teammate Training.
- Understand how to apply the 5 Elements of Right-Minded Teamwork into your team.
- Read and implement the practices found in the Art of Mindfulness Guide by John Parrott.
- Rebecca Temsen wrote this excellent description of the benefits and practices of mindfulness. What is Mindfulness? And How to Be Mindful.
- Breathing Techniques: A Guide to the Science and Methods is a terrific guide for reducing work stress, which frequently causes improper breathing.
- Read Mindfulness at Work by Suja Johnkutty, MD a conscientious mom and neurologist at BetterRelaxation.com, a site all about providing straightforward advice on mindfulness and relaxation techniques.
Right Choice Model – What Others Are Saying…
I’ve used the Choice Model for 20+ years and I still live by the process today in my professional and personal life. It’s a great way to kick start a new team or invigorate a seasoned one.Ken McCall – Nuclear Power Executive
I can tell you without a doubt that my team and I use the right choice model all we can, and we LOVE it!! Our team has really grown and achieved a lot through the program, and we continue each week in our meetings to utilize what you have taught us.Cindy Thomas – Team Leader
I’m looking at a Choice Model poster in my office as I type this note and appreciate you bringing this into my career and personal life. I don’t think a day goes by that I don’t think about this model or share the principle of this model with someone.Jacob Gros – Team Leader
I have been inspired and enjoy using your Right Choice Model in most of my workshops since 2005 and found it very useful. For Team Building Activities Right Choice is most definitely highly recommended.Teca Pedro – Learning & Development Leader
I have a Choice Model poster in my office and a card in my wallet that I use frequently when managing conflict and providing coaching to others. It is a valuable tool that has made my job and personal life easier at times.Danny Boyd – Team Leader
I actually have that card pinned with magnets to my file cabinet and I too refer to it routinely, to coach myself and others in difficult situations. It has helped us to create a positive attitude in our teamwork.Dave Jenson – Team Leader
To Your Success, Dan